When most people think of the Google Play Store, the first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. However, the spread of the Android ecosystem is far broader than that, and Google is taking steps to increase awareness of this and make it easier for folks to find apps on the Play Store for their smart TVs, watches, and even cars.
In a blog post today, the Google Play team announced three significant changes that should make it easier for Android fans to discover apps for all their devices, right from their phone. This includes recommendations of apps for non-phone devices, a search filter to focus on only games optimized for non-phone devices, and even a remote install feature that will let you deliver those apps to your Android TV, Wear OS watch, or Android Automotive-equipped car.
It’s the latest step in Google’s efforts to unify the Android ecosystem to make devices of all stripes work better together. It’s probably no coincidence that these changes are arriving only days before Google’s big October 6 event, where it’s expected to unveil not just the next-generation Pixel 7 but also enter the smartwatch space in a big way with the highly anticipated Pixel Watch.
Finding Android apps for all your devices
An update to the Google Play Store phone app, which should begin rolling out to compatible Android phones starting today, will enable these new features to put apps for non-phone devices on a much more equal footing with the Play Store’s vast collection of smartphone apps.
A new “Other Devices” page on the Play Store will focus entirely on apps optimized for Wear OS, Android TV OS, and Android Automotive. This page will be laid out similarly to other Play Store pages, with featured apps, game recommendations, and editorials explicitly tailored to how key Android apps can extend and empower the experience onto other Android devices.
A new device filter on the Play Store will also let users narrow their search results to only those apps that are compatible with their selected device, including non-phone devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Nvidia Shield, and even Android-powered vehicles like Volvo’s Polestar 2.
When you find a Wear OS, Android TV, or Android Automotive app you like while browsing the Play Store on your Android smartphone, there’s no need to go and look for it again on that device. Instead, a single click lets you deliver it directly to your non-phone device. This works just like remotely installing Android apps to other smartphones, extending to almost every non-phone Android platform.
Managing apps from the web
The Play Store website recently underwent a significant redesign to simplify navigation and improve accessibility. In the process, Google has also added these advanced device management features to the website, so you can find and install your favorite apps on your smartphone, wearable, smart TV, or vehicle from the comfort of any web browser.
All the same search filters and non-phone featured pages are available from the Play Store, making it even easier to search out and discover new app experiences for all your Android devices.
Google also hopes these changes will give developers more opportunities to showcase multi-device app experiences and extend their apps beyond smartphones and into the rest of the Android ecosystem.